Just the Facts: Florida State vs. Michigan in NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
For the third straight time, Florida State is through to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
The No. 4 seed Seminoles (18-6, 11-4 in ACC) beat UNC Greensboro and Colorado over the weekend to advance to their third consecutive Sweet 16.
They will now take on Michigan (22-4, 14-3 in Big Ten), the top seed in the East Region, Sunday at 5 p.m. for a spot in the Elite Eight.
The Wolverines are one of only two other teams, along with Gonzaga, that have made it to the Sweet 16 in each of the last three tournaments.
This matchup will a rematch of the 2018 Elite Eight matchup, when No. 3 seed Michigan defeated No. 9 seed FSU 58-54 to deny the Seminoles their first Final Four appearance in 46 years.
Should FSU pull the upset over the Wolverines this time, they'll be one win away from ending that drought at 49 years.
The Seminoles are 1-3 in four all-time games against Michigan. All three of those losses came on neutral-sites and the lone win was an 87-66 home win in 2007.
FSU opened as a three-point underdog for Sunday's game but that has been bet down to 2.5 points at a number of sportsbooks.
Why FSU wins
Michigan was perceived as the most vulnerable of the No. 1 seeds -- and therefore the optimal Sweet 16 matchup for FSU -- for one main reason entering the tournament.
The absence of senior forward Isaiah Livers, who suffered a stress fracture in his foot in the Big Ten Tournament, looms large for the Wolverines.
Livers has been said to be out indefinitely and said himself last week that a return this season would be "miraculous." It's a big loss for UM as Livers was the team's leading three-point shooter (43.1% this season) and second on the team with 13.1 points per game.
He's a leader on and off the court for the Wolverines and the fact that his season appears to be over changes UM's chances of winning the entire tournament drastically.
The Seminoles and Wolverines have similar three-point shooting profiles. FSU averages 7.8 made per game to UM's 7.7 while the Wolverines hit a marginally smaller percentage more, 38.5% to 38.2%.
But the absence of Michigan's most consistent three-point threat could swing that into the Seminoles' favor.
While Michigan is a well-rounded team, especially on offense, the Wolverines don't turn their opponents over much this season. Michigan is forcing opponents to turn it over 9.96 times per game this season, 336th out of 340 Division-I teams.
In the Wolverines' first two NCAA Tournament games, Texas Southern turned it over 10 times and LSU had just three turnovers.
By comparison, FSU forces 13.96 turnovers per game and forced 26 turnovers over its first two games.
While the Seminoles have been somewhat turnover-prone of late, Michigan doesn't appear to be the team that will take advantage unless FSU makes unforced errors. That's something FSU was far better about for the majority of the Colorado game.
Why Michigan wins
Even without Livers, the Wolverines are exceptionally talented.
7-foot-1 center Hunter Dickinson, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a second-team All-American from multiple outlets, will be a tough challenge for Balsa Koprivica and the Seminoles.
He averages 14.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game and has six double-doubles this season. While FSU is the tallest team in the country according to KenPom.com, Dickinson's presence inside for the Wolverines could cause problems for FSU at both ends of the court.
Add in a player like 6-foot-9 Franz Wagner who hits 37.2% of his threes and a guard in Mike Smith who averages 9.3 points and 5.4 assists and the challenge ahead of the Seminoles becomes more clear.
Michigan is in the Top 20 among D-I teams in field goal percentage (48.5%, 19th), three-point field goal percentage (38.5, 12th) and free-throw percentage (78.0%, 17th). The Wolverines' opposing two-point field-goal percentage of 42.4% is the third-best in the country.
While UM doesn't force many turnovers, it also doesn't turn the ball over much, averaging 11.2 per game. If FSU isn't able to force turnovers and get out in transition, it will make the upset victory harder to come by.
The game will be broadcast on CBS at 5 p.m. Sunday from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Brian Anderson, Jim Jackson and Allie LaForce will be the television broadcast crew.
The FSU radio broadcast with Gene Deckerhoff and Adrian Crawford will be available on 101.5 FM locally and on FSU affiliates across the state.
Facing a team led by such a dominating center, it feels like FSU needs a big day from Balsa Koprivica.
Koprivica has been playing quite possibly the best basketball of his FSU career of late. He had two double-doubles in as many ACC Tournament games and came one rebound short of his third straight double-double in FSU's win over UNCG.
However, he struggled with foul trouble against Colorado, picking up five fouls and fouling out in 11 minutes of action. He finished the game with five points and no rebounds.
If Koprivica finds himself in foul trouble once more against UM, it will be hard for the Seminoles to overcome. Dickinson's size will make it tough for FSU to go small when he's on the court and FSU's backup true center, Tanor Ngom, would likely struggle in that matchup for an extended period of time.
No. 4 seed Florida State against No. 1 seed Michigan
When: Sunday, 5 p.m.
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
TV/Radio: CBS/101.5 FM
Reach Curt Weiler at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @CurtMWeiler.
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